Receiving Transmissions with Not Blood Paint


My evening with Not Blood Paint was honestly unlike any experience I’ve ever had before, or am likely to have in the future.

Not Blood Paint, called the band “most likely to start a cult” by FREE Williamsburg, is four adventurous men who are often found in skirts and glitter: George Frye, Mark Jaynes, Seth Miller, and Joe Stratton. Their music is a stunning combination of tight harmonies, complex rhythms, and a heavy dose of fun.

After a succession of emails, I made plans to meet the boys at Saint’s Alp Tearoom in Williamsburg, which fit their request for a place where they would be out of their comfort zone. Recalling their sweat-soaked extravaganza of a show at the Loom in June, I somehow couldn’t picture them sipping cups of bubble tea.

But at 10 PM, their desired witching hour, I was not greeted by the members of the band. I sat alone at a table for five and waited. At 10:07, a grimy gentleman came through the door, holding a manila envelope. A manila envelope with my name on it.

Inside was a letter, which began, “We apologize, but Not Blood Paint has left the space-time continuum and is unable to attend the interview as such.” It went on to inform me that due to an attempt at manipulating orgone energy, the members of Not Blood Paint had left the perceivable plane. In their stead, they would be sending representatives to meet with me.

Five minutes later, the representatives arrived: in white shirts, dark leggings, and dark overcoats, they were a solemn and impressive bunch. They sat down with me, we ordered five teas (three fruity black peach black teas, and two fruity passion fruit green tea), and the interview began. Naturally, they introduced themselves as George, Mark, Seth, and Joe, and assured me that they were equipped to answer my questions.

We had just completed a warm up lightning round (zebras or leopards? – they all chose leopards), when an alarm went off, and before I really realized what was going on, we were all running outside. I realized that I was no longer an interviewer, and but rather the audience for whatever scheme was about to unfold before my eyes.

On Bedford Avenue, in the rain, the representatives of Not Blood Paint took out a toolkit that included what looked like mini light sabers and a spray bottle, and attempted, somewhat successfully, to receive a message from the true members of Not Blood Paint. This mission was repeated several times throughout our conversation: the message took the form of a string of numbers that the representatives promised me was the return date of the band.

We discussed high school superlatives (the representative for Joe is most likely to be angry), their pending Halloween costumes (they’re planning to dress up as themselves), and the recipe for creating a Not Blood Paint show (any number of ingredients were offered as options, including baking soda, vinegar, glitter, and fire). We swapped bubble tea for beer when it became clear that the patrons of Saint’s Alp were less than thrilled with our entrances and exits. The grimy gentleman who had delivered the initial letter paid our bill.

Not Blood Paint defies lineage. They’ve had a MySpace music profile since June 2008 and a steady stream of shows since then. But they’re as much of a strategy as they are a band. The representative for Seth summed it up in a few words as “the New Suits” concept. The band members are constantly putting on new suits (literally and metaphorically) as an attempt to access different ways of looking at the world around them and interacting with their own music. To say that they never put on the same show twice is perhaps the understatement of the year. I’m not even sure I could recognize them out of makeup.

Our evening together resolved itself with an interpretation of the message: 10-21-10, N. 7 and Bedford, 00 o’clock – fear not, music lovers. The true members of Not Blood Paint are due to arrive just in time for their next show. I’ll certainly drink to that.

A few days later, I received an invitation to a hypnosis session at NBP headquarters. I wasn’t able to attend, but I look forward to seeing the results on Thursday night. With or without hypnosis, I’m mesmerized by this band.

Not Blood Paint @ CMJ
Spike Hill, 184 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
Thursday, October 21, 12 AM. Free!
Prepare for hypnosis, disguises, and sweat.

Chloë Bass is not a music journalist, but she loves adventures.

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